Gavin Cowan to make a final call on futures of six AFC Telford trialists

AFC Telford United | Published:

Gavin Cowan will make final decisions on his AFC Telford United trialists after Saturday’s friendly at Stafford Rangers.

Trialist Dominic McHale during the pre-season friendly between Ellesmere Rangers and AFC Telford United

The Bucks boss used seven trialists in last weekend’s win at Ellesmere Rangers, with six making the cut for the comfortable midweek success at Market Drayton Town.

Winger Anthony Dwyer, who played for the club in the 2017/18 and has since been with Leamington and Hednesford Town among others, was released and named as a trialist with Stourbridge on Tuesday.

The six remaining trialists will get the chance to make one final impression against step three Stafford in front of a limited capacity of supporters – which has almost sold out – on Saturday.

“They all gave me food for thought, that is what they are there for,” Cowan said. “You can’t hang your hat on them from these games of course, they are not as realistic as what you play in the season. But you look at their attitude and application and the quality they’ve got.”

The trialists have trained with Telford since the end of June and Cowan has kept on those that have impressed.

Left-footed centre-half Owen Bennett came through the academy ranks at Solihull Moors and spent last season on loan at Coventry United.

Left wing-back Ashley Smith-Brown, 24, spent 13 years in the Manchester City academy as a youngster and made 21 League One appearances for Plymouth two seasons ago. He also spent time in the Dutch second tier with NAC Breda.

Former TNS youngster Harry Bower, 19, is a pacy attacker most accustomed to playing on the flank.


Central midfielder Dominic McHale, 24, netted twice at Drayton with fine left-footed finishes and is another ex-City academy player who has spent time at Barnsley and Oldham alongside a string of non-league clubs.

Jack Storer also netted at Greenfields – the former Birmingham City attacking midfielder had signed a short-term deal with the Bucks before Covid-19 and is thought to be close to earning a deal.

Welsh striker Jordan Davies, 24, netted at Ellesmere and was busy against Drayton. He has caught the eye scoring more than 80 goals in two seasons for Prestatyn Town in the Welsh second tier.

Meanwhile, Telford’s home friendly against Notts County on Saturday, September 19, has been cancelled due to the visitors playing their FA Trophy semi-final two days earlier.


Telford are looking for new opposition for the fixture, which would be behind closed doors.

Speaking on the trialists who have trained with Telford throughout the summer, Cowan added: “I do speak about the risks involved. If there is more than a 40 or 50 per cent chance of signing them down the line we’d like to keep them here (on trial).

“If it falls below that we let them go. But even so they’ve got to make a decision, ultimately it’s their lives. We don’t want anyone to be without a club.

“The risk shows how committed they are to playing at this level.

“Who and how many we take on remains to be seen and only them can push me on that.

“The chairman was at Drayton and got a good luck at them. He does trust me implicitly but when he sees the route we’re taking it’s always beneficial.

“We will have a small squad because of finances and sometimes getting a couple of wildcards can bolster us.

“They’ll all get a good chunk of the Stafford game and final decisions will come off the back of that, because we need to go into the final four games giving minutes to the signed players.”

Cowan added on former Telford attacker Dwyer: “With Anthony we decided, with the way the leagues are starting below us a week on Saturday, it’s not fair to hold on to them.”


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